A longitudinal examination of leisure time physical activity following amputation in England

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Abstract

Objectives:

There is a significant body of research on leisure time physical activity (LTPA) among people with physical disabilities. Yet, while this data set has been informative in identifying the social-relational factors that affect LTPA across disability groups, there is now a demand for context- and population-specific studies to provide a more nuanced understanding to better inform decision-makers and service-providers. This original study is the first to examine the barriers, facilitators, and benefits of LTPA among people with an amputation in England.

Methods:

Multi-method, longitudinal research design (from April 2014 to May 2016). Participants were recruited using maximum-variation and criterion-based purposeful sampling. Data collection included two focus groups (>4hrs), fieldwork observations (>225hrs), and 44 formal interviews (>50hrs). Practical strategies used to support or evidence the study's quality in terms of its credibility, rigour, generalizability, and significance included author self-reflexivity, member reflections from participants, and external reflections with key stakeholders before seeking publication. This large qualitative dataset was rigorously analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

Results:

Ten themes were identified: personal wellbeing, social wellbeing, physical wellbeing, inspiration, self-presentation, experience of LTPA, knowledge of LTPA, environment, organisational functioning, and miscellaneous.

Conclusions:

This article makes a novel and significant contribution to research by revealing the dynamic and relational nature of barriers, facilitators, and benefits. Practical implications for LTPA policies and practices are considered through a social ecological lens (i.e., intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and policy).

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